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Have diabetes? Watch out for heart disease!

May 8, 2022   Return


The vast majority of people know about the link between type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or simply diabetes and its link to kidney disease, limb amputation, and blindness. But do you also know that if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, you are four times more likely to develop heart failure than regular folk?1 While this may not ring alarm bells, it is important to note that 3.5 million Malaysians are suffering from type 2 diabetes today and this number is expected to increase to 7 million by 2025.

Diabetes control and management involves both proper education and medication. The treatment landscape for diabetes has evolved tremendously over the years, allowing patients to have greater access to more treatment options. However, many people are still unaware of the heart disease-diabetes link. To address this gap in knowledge, two prominent societies—the Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS) and Malaysian Diabetes Educators Society (MDES)—got together to launch the For Your Sweetheart campaign. It is a nationwide public awareness and education effort to educate Malaysians about diabetes-related heart disease. The campaign is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim.

The campaign website, is the main component of the campaign. The website has important information about diabetes and diabetes-related heart disease in both English and Bahasa Malaysia. MEMS and MDES conducted a social experiment to find out how much Malaysians know about the link between diabetes and heart disease. The social experiment video is also featured on the website. Additionally, patient stories are available on the website too and features different experiences from two individuals living with diabetes.

Scan here to visit the website


Why does diabetes increase a person’s risk of heart disease?
Well, patients with diabetes are more likely to suffer from a condition called dyslipidaemia, which is a condition where the lipid levels are out of balance. Lipids here include all the types of cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein) and fats (triglycerides). The ratio of these lipids should be harmoniously maintained to keep our heart and blood system healthy. A lipid imbalance leads to atherosclerosis, which is plaque build-up in the blood vessels. Over time, this may lead to heart attack, or stroke.HT

Yes, heart disease and stroke are closely linked to diabetes!

1. Rosano, G., et al. (2017). Heart Failure in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Card Fail Rev.;3(1):52–55.
2. Dokken, B.B. (2008). The Pathophysiology of Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Beyond Blood Pressure and Lipids. Diabetes Spectrum;21(3):160–165. 

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